First up: the drilling business, whose contribution to the overall top line has diminished somewhat in an environment of drab dayrates. Unlike non-pitiablePatterson-UTI
The E&P business, which is more steady and predictable than the drilling business, can be safely viewed with a longer time horizon. For the year, the segment achieved natural-gas-equivalent production of 54.7 billion cubic feet. About 80% of production was natural gas, which actually declined for the year. Oil and natural gas liquids, however, combined to lift overall production by a few percentage points. Unit's 171% reserve replacement ratio was high enough to make a big slug like Chevron
The midstream business remains a standout, with three new facilities contributing to a near-doubling of liquid sales volume. I really don't have much to add -- with fourth-quarter operating profits up 70% over last year, the numbers speak for themselves.
If you find the drillers too dramatic, the volatility of the upstream players too upsetting, and pipeline operations akin to watching paint dry, Unit provides fairly balanced exposure to the sector. While there are names that I prefer more in each particular segment, you may have neither the time nor the inclination to get that intimate with the oil patch. Honestly, Fool? That's just fine.